“If you yourself are struggling from addiction, know that every breath is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.”
From Kate O’Neill’s obituary for her sister, Madelyn Linsenmeir

All our Hearts is a project of Burlington, Vermont-based newsweekly Seven Days. It grew out of an overwhelming response to an obituary. In October 2018, Madelyn Linsenmeir died of causes related to opioid-use disorder. Her sister, Kate O’Neill, wrote a compassionate and devastatingly honest obituary that conveyed the pain of losing Maddie and offered hope for those still struggling with addiction.

Kate’s tribute immediately struck a chord with readers, who shared it on social media. In just a few days, millions of people around the world read it. Many of them, emboldened by Kate’s candor, shared their own stories of loved ones lost to this disease. Others commented that Kate’s account made them feel empathy for Maddie and others like her.

As a result, Seven Days hired Kate to write a yearlong series, “Hooked: Stories and Solutions From Vermont’s Opioid Crisis.” And we began laying the groundwork for All Our Hearts, which helps others honor their loved ones in their own words, the way Kate memorialized Maddie.

Gathering these voices together will document the lives lost to opioid-use disorder, and we hope it will serve as a beacon to remind those who are still suffering from it that they’re loved. The project takes its name from a line in the obituary, quoted above.

If you’ve lost someone to this disease, please share your story with us. Your remembrances can educate, change minds, awaken empathy — and inspire action.

Who We Are

Founded in 1995 by Pamela Polston and Paula Routly, Seven Days is a locally owned newsweekly published every Wednesday and available in print in northern and central Vermont and Plattsburgh, N.Y. Its staff also produces six additional free publications and several annual events, as well as All Our Hearts.

Seven Days Staff 2019
Read more from Seven Days

Meet the All Our Hearts Team

Cathy Resmer
Cathy Resmer
Seven Days deputy publisher Cathy Resmer manages the All Our Hearts memorial project.
Mary Hamilton
Mary Hamilton
Mary, the All Our Hearts Project Coordinator, contacts story submitters, edits submissions and drives outreach and marketing. She comes to this position as a past Hospice Nurse and Bereavement Director. Both personally and professionally, Mary has witnessed the damage opioid use disorder wreaks on the families and friends of the those struggling with this disorder. She believes bringing the realities of opioid addiction into the open without judgment is a vital step in beginning to deal with this epidemic.
Violet Bell
Violet Bell
Intern Violet Bell organizes and edits submissions for All Our Hearts. She’s a third-year professional writing major at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt.

Special Thanks

Initial funding for All Our Hearts generously provided by Frank Cioffi, the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and GW Tatro Construction.